July 31, 2021

the complicated assembly of the luxury watches offered to the Blues in 2018

July 15, 2018. Ecstatic, the players of the France team parade on the lawn of the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. Under a shower of golden confetti, the Blues have just lifted the World Cup after their victory against Croatia. In the general euphoria, the leaders of the French Football Federation (FFF) wish to reward the protégés of coach Didier Deschamps as well as the members of his staff with a bonus in kind. However, footballers appreciate luxury watches.

The general management of the FFF decides to offer them each one, engraved with their name. In the fall of 2018, she ordered 48 watches from the Swiss watchmaker IWC (International Watch Co.) to hand them over to the players of the France team and members of the technical staff, including Didier Deschamps. Portugieser Chronograph models, with blue dial. Commercial value of the order: 364,800 euros all taxes included (or 7,600 euros per unit), according to our information.

A seemingly simple initiative. However, the operation gave rise to a complex arrangement, which aroused unease and questions within the federation itself: according to several sources, the dressing given to this gift could, at choice, be social or even tax concealment. , or abuse of social good.

Atypical marketing operation

Almost everything started from a warning from one of the lawyers of the FFF, who warned that the Blues would expose themselves to a tax risk if they did not declare these watches in their income and they did not send invoices relating to the objects to the federation. The FFF then agreed to an atypical transaction with IWC, to say the least.

The arrangement put in place aimed to reduce the risk of a fiscal adjustment, without completely ruling it out, according to the lawyer for the FFF. In order not to have the watches considered as gratuities to be declared to the taxes, it was thus a question of making appear the handing-over of the objects like an advertising operation.

Read also The coronation of the Blues is the good business of the French Football Federation

According to the contract proposal of which The world was made aware, drawn up in October 2018 by the council of the federation in two original copies, the FFF only had to pay a discounted price (145,920 euros, all taxes included, instead of 364,800 euros), all by committing to perform services for the benefit of IWC. The contract mentions “A first ad hoc cooperation”, prior to a possible more ambitious sponsorship partnership.

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